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ORAU-Directed Research and Development Grants

One of the most important benefits of your institution’s partnership with ORAU is the opportunity to participate in the ORAU-Directed Research and Development (ODRD) program.

ODRD is a research and development program that supports collaborations between ORAU researchers and faculty at our member universities. Led by ORAU subject matter experts and leveraging the talents and expertise of our member universities, ODRD projects strengthen and expand the scientific and technical capabilities of both parties.

Program deadlines

ODRD proposals are due in June, and must be submitted by an ORAU staff member. Awards are made in August. Projects run October 1 to September 30.

Frequently asked questions

This investment program provides a path for funding innovative research-based approaches/solutions that fall within the intersection of core capabilities of ORAU and our member universities’ research interests. We envision ODRD-funded projects to result in proposals that can generate new sponsored research jointly performed by ORAU and partner universities.

ODRD funding, distributed through a competitive process, serves as seed money for exploratory research and collaboration opportunities between ORAU subject matter experts and our university partners. This seed money and exploratory research provides greater potential for significant funding from external sources.

ODRD supports university-engaged, applied research while increasing the potential for significant external research funding and strengthening ORAU’s ability to address current and future customer needs.

The ODRD Program is comprised of core and cross-cutting initiatives focused on developing or advancing strategic capabilities at ORAU. Each year, three research areas are selected to ensure alignment with these strategic goals.

The ODRD program invests in research projects that will:

  • advance the study of hypotheses, concepts, or innovative approaches to scientific or technical problems,
  • produce research and analyses directed towards “proof of principle” or early determination of the utility of new ideas and concepts, and
  • enhance ORAU and member university research capabilities.

Projects should be achievable in one year, and funding is shared between ORAU and the university partners.

The ODRD research areas are communicated to each ORAU member institution in early March. Please contact your ORAU councilor for more information.

ORAU has subject matter experts (SMEs) with unique experience and education specific to a particular research topic. ORAU SMEs serve as the Principle Investigator and project lead and are responsible for submitting proposal applications through an internal ODRD application process. The SMEs represent ORAU’s thought leaders and are the best resource to determine the value of an ODRD collaboration.

Member university personnel with active relationships with ORAU staff are encouraged to reach out directly to discuss the potential for an ODRD project.

To facilitate new partnerships between ORAU and university researchers, we invite university faculty to submit a collaboration request that clearly outlines the scope of the proposed effort, to be shared with our ORAU SMEs. Submission of a collaboration request is not a guarantee of collaboration or funding.

ODRD uses corporate funds to support awarded projects. No federal monies are used to fund ODRD projects and activities. The number of projects awarded may vary.

ODRD funds may be used for direct charges only (no indirect or overhead charges are permitted), and in accordance with your university’s policies pertaining to grants and travel charges.

ORAU does not require a final financial report for ODRD grants.

Interested in ODRD?

ODRD is only open to member universities in good standing. Please contact your ORAU councilor for information on how to submit a request to be matched with an ORAU researcher.

If you have questions about membership, please send an email to

Contact us

To learn more about the ORAU-Directed Research and Development (ODRD) program, contact the Research and University Partnerships Office (RUPO).

Impact Areas

ORAU-Directed Research & Development and its role in our research enterprise

ODRD is an investment program that provides a path for funding innovative research-based approaches/solutions that fall within the intersection of ORAU's core capabilities and our member universities’ research interests. In this episode of Further Together, we talk with Casey Thomas, ODRD program manager about the priorities for research that joins together the skills of our subject matter experts with the research interests of our university partners. We also talk with Davyda Hammond and Laura Davenport, two of ORAU's currently funded researchers, who discuss the benefits of the program and what happens next.

Listen to the podcast  Transcript (.DOCX)

Further Together podcast logo

‘3D-printed’ human tissue may hold answers to health impacts of diagnostic low-dose radiation exposures

How do doctors and scientists assess the health risks of diagnostic low dose radiation exposures such as X-rays? Up until recently, it was a challenging task due to the lack of appropriate model systems that mimic tissue microenvironments. Now Adayabalam Balajee, Ph.D., director of ORISE’s Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory—which is part of ORISE’s Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS)—and his team are collaborating to develop three-dimensional human tissue.

Read more about this ODRD project

Adayabalam Balajee, Ph.D., director of the ORISE Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory

Contact us

To learn more about the ORAU-Directed Research and Development program, contact the University Partnerships office at (865) 576-6513 or